Cablegate: U.S. Missile Defense Policy and Europe

DE RUEHC #6526/01 2601130
O 171109Z SEP 09



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) This is an ACTION REQUEST. Please see paragraph

2. (SBU) BACKGROUND: The White House is expected to
announce a Presidential decision at approximately 9:55
a.m.(Washington, D.C.) on September 17 regarding a U.S.
European-based BMD adaptive regional architecture, which
is significantly different from the Bush Administration's
plan to deploy 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland and
a BMD tracking radar in the Czech Republic. END

3. (SBU) ACTION REQUEST: Posts at their discretion may
deliver the talking points in paragraph 4 on Thursday,
September 17, as a non-paper, but only after the
Presidential statement is released at approximately 9:55
a.m. (Washington, D.C.). Posts may draw upon the
Questions and Answers in paragraph 5 for use with Host
Governments, as Posts determine appropriate but these
Questions and Answers should not/not be handed over to
Host Governments. Materials for public diplomacy (e.g.,
Fact Sheet, Questions and Answers, and POTUS statement)
will be provided to Posts septel. END ACTION REQUEST.



- The White House announced that the President has
approved Secretary Gates and the Joint Chiefs of Staff's
unanimous recommendation for improved missile defenses in
Europe against the threat from Iran to our forces and
families deployed to the region and to our Allies.

- Iran already has hundreds of ballistic missiles that can
threaten its neighbors in the Middle East, Turkey, and the
Caucasus and it is actively developing and testing
ballistic missiles that can reach more and more of
-- Our concern regarding Iranian missile capabilities is
further increased by the fact that our Intelligence
Community continues to assess that Iran, at a minimum, is
keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons.

- The new "Phased, Adaptive Approach" recommended by
Secretary Gates updates and revises the previous program
for missile defense in Europe based on two key findings of
the DoD review:
-- First, the threat from Iran's regional ballistic
missiles has developed more rapidly than previously
expected. At the same time, the threat from potential
Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) has
been slower to develop than we previously expected.
-- Second, our missile defense capabilities and
technologies have advanced significantly. Improved
interceptor capabilities, such as the currently deployed
Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptor and advanced
variants that are already in development, permit a more
flexible and capable architecture.

- Therefore, the President has approved a Phased, Adaptive
Approach that is responsive to the current threat, but
also can incorporate new technologies quickly and
cost-effectively to adapt as the threat and our
technologies continue to change. It will unfold in
-- The first phase will speed protection of U.S. deployed
forces, civilians, and families and our Allies in Europe
against the current threat from Iran by deploying proven
systems by 2011 - about six or seven years earlier than
the previous program.
-- Subsequent phases will add advanced variant sea- and
land-based versions of the SM-3 and cover additional
territory in Europe should the Iranian threat expand.
-- In the fourth and final phase we will anticipate
augmenting our existing capabilities to defend the United
States against potential advances in Iran's ICBM
capability with advanced versions of the SM-3. This would
be a similar capability to that provided in the program of

STATE 00096526 002 OF 007

- This improved approach removes the need for a Ground
Based Interceptor field in Poland and features a
distributed interceptor and sensor architecture that does
not require the single large, fixed radar originally
planned to be located in the Czech Republic.
-- Under the new approach, land- and sea-based missile
defense interceptors and sensors offer some flexibility to
be redeployed as the regional ballistic missile threat
dictates. This distributed network approach also will
increase the survivability of the system and provide more
opportunities for collaboration with Allies and partners.
-- We are beginning consultations with Poland, the Czech
Republic, and other Allies on the new approach, and will
work with our NATO Allies on determining locations for the
sensors and interceptors, and on integrating the Phased,
Adaptive Approach with their missile defense capabilities
and with the emerging NATO command and control network.

- Strong missile defenses will strengthen our efforts to
find a solution that brings Iran into compliance with its
international obligations: the more we can diminish the
coercive value of Iran's missiles, the less Iran stands to
gain by continuing to develop these destabilizing

- This set of recommendations comes from an ongoing
Congressionally-mandated review that is taking a
comprehensive examination of our global approach to
missile defense and is consistent with the Defense
Department's budget choices for fiscal year 2010:
-- For example, we added additional funding to field more
systems such as Aegis BMD ships and SM-3 interceptors.



1. What is this new "phased" approach? Details?

- We will pursue a Phased Adaptive Approach to missile
defense in Europe, which will improve the collective
defense of the United States and Europe. The first
elements of this approach will be available to defend
portions of Europe six or seven years earlier than would
have occurred under the previous plan.

- Our proven regional missile defense capabilities,
including the Aegis Weapon System and the Standard Missile
3 (SM-3) interceptor, and Army-Navy TPY-2 forward-based
radar can be deployed initially, to address the current
Iranian short- and medium- range ballistic missile threat.

- As our missile defense technology improves and is
tested, the architecture also will evolve and become more

- For example, we also can leverage our advanced regional
missile defense development programs such as the
land-based SM-3s with advanced SM-3 interceptor capability
and advanced sensors in subsequent phases.

- This approach provides many opportunities for allied
participation, and we have begun engaging our NATO Allies
to discuss these.

- The phased approach will enable us to provide protection
to U.S. deployed forces, civilian personnel, and their
accompanying families, and NATO Allies at risk to current
and emerging Iranian missile threats.

- We anticipate that this plan can augment missile defense
of the United States against a potential future Iranian
ICBM. In the meantime, we will invest in the continued
improvement of Ground Based Interceptors now based in the
United States.

2. What are you doing about the program of record?

- Based on our updated understanding of the threat and our
more advanced capabilities and technologies, we believe
the best course of action no longer involves the single
GBI field in Poland or the single large, fixed European
radar originally planned to be located in the Czech

- The Czech Republic and Poland are steadfast Allies of
the United States, and we appreciate their willingness to

STATE 00096526 003 OF 007

take a leadership role in NATO on missile defense. We
discussed this announcement with them earlier today and
communicated our gratitude.

- The United States remains committed to the security of
its NATO Allies, including Poland and the Czech Republic.
The indivisibility of Allied security and Article 5 of the
North Atlantic Treaty are cornerstones of that commitment.

3. What nations will host this architecture?

- Some of the assets will be sea-based, which allows them
to be moved quickly to meet new or unexpected threats.
Other parts of the defensive architecture - sensors and
interceptors - could also be land-based and potentially be
deployed in northern or southern Europe to provide
coverage of Allied territory and populations.

- One benefit of the phased approach is that there is a
high degree of geographic flexibility; for example, there
are many potential locations for any land-based
interceptor sites. Moreover, some of the land-based
elements will be relocatable, so we can adjust as
appropriate if circumstances change.

- I would prefer not to get into specific issues related
to hosting this equipment at this time. We are engaging
at NATO with Allies on those questions.

4. What has changed since Secretary Gates made the
Program of Record decision?

- Both our assessment of the Iranian missile threat and
the technical capabilities of U.S. missile defense have

- The growing numbers of Iranian short- and medium-range
missiles pose an increasingly important near-term
challenge to U.S. forces, allies, and friends in multiple

- The threat from Iranian short- and medium-range missiles
has developed more rapidly than anticipated.
-- Iran already has fielded hundreds of ballistic missiles
that can threaten neighbors in the Middle East, Turkey,
and the Caucasus.
-- Iran is actively developing ballistic missiles that can
reach beyond its neighbors and deeper into Europe.

- Iran's successful space launch (the Safir) in February
2009 demonstrated progress in longer-range ballistic
missile technologies.

- In addition, new options for missile defense
capabilities now exist in our missile defense development
program that were not previously available.
--Improved interceptor capabilities, including new
versions of the SM-3, offer a more flexible and capable
architecture for the defense of Europe, and indeed of
other regions.
--We also have made progress with sensor technologies that
offer an increasing variety of options to detect and track
enemy ballistic missiles and provide that data to an

5. Does this weaken our protection of the homeland
against missile attacks?

- To the contrary: The phased approach develops the
capability to augment our current protection of the U.S.
homeland against long-range ballistic missile threats.
-- In the later phases, a new variant of the SM-3
interceptor in development could eventually provide a
capability against Iranian ICBM threat to the United
States. Because it uses a different approach and
different technology than the GBIs deployed in the United
States, it offers the opportunity for layered defense of
the United States.
-- In all phases, the GBIs deployed at Fort Greely,
Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, are
available to protect the United States from an incoming

- As we move forward, we will be better positioned to
accelerate development and deployment of system elements

STATE 00096526 004 OF 007

if needed - this flexibility is a key benefit of this
approach compared to the previous program.

- We are committed to missile defense for the U.S.
homeland. By the end of 2010, the U.S. will have 30
ground-based interceptors (GBIs) deployed in Ft. Greely,
Alaska, and Vandenberg AFB in California.
-- This is more than enough to defend against an ICBM
attack from Iran or North Korea that we may face in the
foreseeable future.
-- We will continue to maintain and improve our GBI
capabilities to ensure they are available when needed and
could combat an evolving threat.

6. If our current missile defense capabilities
(GBIs) for defending the homeland are more than
sufficient, why do we need the European architecture for
homeland defense?

- The current force of 30 GBIs is sufficient to meet the
long-range threat we face today from rogue countries. If
the threat grows in number or complexity, or if the threat
originates from another region, we will review our missile
defense posture, and augment it as needed.

- A benefit of the European architecture as outlined in
our new phased approach is its ability to adapt as the
Iranian ballistic missile threat evolves. In the near
term, we will be able to counter the expected short- and
medium-range threat to our deployed forces, friends and
allies in the region.

- We are monitoring the Iranian threat closely and will be
prepared to adjust our missile defense capabilities and
posture in a timely manner. The phased approach ensures
that we are best able to defend against all ranges of
Iranian ballistic missiles both today and in the future.

7. Is the new approach cost-effective?

- Yes. This approach begins with proven capabilities,
like the Aegis ballistic missile defense system, with SM-3
interceptors, and relocatable radars that are being
deployed and in use today.

- As newer, more capable versions of these systems become
available, we will deploy them to defend against evolving

- This approach employs missile defense capabilities that
are flexible and scaleable; that is, they are mobile or
relocatable and can be surged in times of crisis. This is
a cost-effective way to leverage our BMD investments.

- We estimate that the overall, long-term cost of the
Phased Adaptive Approach will be roughly the same as the
previous program. In addition, we expect the
per-interceptor costs for SM-3 to be significantly less
than for a GBI.

8. Who pays? Potential cost to Allies?

- We will work closely with NATO Allies to examine broader
resourcing requirements and determine the most efficient
and appropriate way to finance the integration of the
Phased Adaptive Approach with NATO.

9. What about NATO missile defense efforts?

- NATO missile defense efforts in recent years have
focused on missile defense systems to protect deployed
forces from shorter-range ballistic missile threats.
Several NATO countries already possess or are acquiring
missile defense systems.

- U.S. missile defense efforts will, of course, be
complementary to those of NATO, and we will ensure our
systems are interoperable. We expect that the current
NATO systems will be able to "plug-and-play" with the
overall phased approach.

- NATO is already developing a command and control
architecture designed to link missile defense systems for
defense of NATO forces in the field, known as the Active

STATE 00096526 005 OF 007

Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defense Program

- Thus, Allied contributions will have the possibility of
being linked together to ensure they form a cost-effective
and comprehensive architecture.

- Use of ALTBMD as a shared command and control backbone
will enable a more cost-effective missile defense

10. Did you consult as you'd promised with allies?

- Consultations with allies and friends on the BMD Review
began early in May, in bilateral and multilateral settings
with allies and partners around the world.

- Over the past several months, we have had multiple
senior-level discussions with NATO, as well as with many
individual countries including the Czech Republic and

- During these consultations, we listened. And we assured
our partners that our decisions would be informed by our
assessments of the nature of the threat from Iran, by the
costs and effectiveness of various missile defense
capabilities - and by these discussions with our allies.

- As soon as the decisions on missile defense in Europe
were made, we informed our allies first and foremost.

11. If a primary purpose of this is to defend
Allies, why aren't they paying for it? Do NATO members
even want this? What's the purpose of the NATO MD?

- The ballistic missile threat concerns not just the U.S.
but our Allies, as well. In fact, NATO has been working
on missile defense for the past few years, agreeing to
develop a system called Active Layered Theatre Ballistic
Missile Defense (ALTBMD) to protect deployed forces. At
the NATO Summit in April, 2009, Allies agreed to examine
whether the Alliance should expand its ALTBMD program to
cover Alliance territory and populations as well.

-Prior to that, at the Summit in Bucharest last year,
Allies provided strong support for the U.S. missile
defense program and tasked the Alliance to look at how
those two programs could work together.

- To implement Alliance missile defense, Allies are
purchasing national systems such as Patriot, Aegis or
Patriot-like systems, and the NATO Alliance itself will
finance the C2 backbone for ALTBMD into which Allied
national systems can be integrated.

- We will work closely with NATO Allies to examine broader
resourcing requirements and determine the most efficient
and appropriate way to finance the integration of our
Phased Adaptive Approach with the NATO program.

12. Are we giving Poland or the Czech Republic
something instead - are we "pulling the rug out from under

- The threat has evolved and technology has changed; the
Czechs and Poles appreciate this fact and the need to
change our approach to the missile defense threat to
enhance protection for all of our European Allies.

- Under the phased adaptive approach, there are greater
opportunities for our Allies and friends to participate.
One of the characteristics of our new architecture is its
flexibility. There are many options for working with
Allies on the way-ahead and we intend to engage soon at
NATO and with Allies on how they might be involved. We
look forward to working with Poland/Czech Republic and all
of our NATO Allies on moving the Phased Adaptive Approach
forward together.

13. How does this affect U.S. missile defense
cooperation with Allies in East Asia? How about our
friends in the Middle East?

- The broad outline of this Phased Adaptive Approach for

STATE 00096526 006 OF 007

Europe is consistent with our current missile defense
efforts throughout the world. We will continue to work
with our friends and allies in other regions to field our
most capable, mobile, interoperable systems to protect
deployed U.S. forces, civilian personnel, and their
families, as well as allied forces, populations, and

14. Was your announcement rushed to be able to tell
President Medvedev the results next week?

- No. We made the announcement when we did in order to
discuss these developments with our allies and friends as
soon as possible. We did not want to delay the process
for improving defenses for ourselves and our allies, many
of whom face an increasing threat of missile attack over
the next several years. This has been a topic of great
interest among our international partners - not only in
Europe, but across the globe.

- We consulted with our allies first and foremost.
Subsequent talks with Russia are designed to provide them
with transparency into our decisions and to discuss
possible areas for cooperation.

15. Did you consult with the Russians prior to the
public announcement?

- Yes. The Russian Ambassador in Washington was informed
of the President's decision before the public
announcement, but after key Allies.

16. How about cooperating with Russia on missile
defense? What about using the Qabala and/or Armavir

- The United States will continue to explore the potential
for cooperating with Russia on missile defenses that
enhance the security of both countries and that of our
Allies and partners.

- In this regard, the U.S. and Russia agreed at the July 6
summit to continue the dialogue on missile defense issues,
including identifying areas for cooperation.

- These efforts could include data sharing, such as from
the Qabala or Armavir radars, which could offer a way for
Russia to make a meaningful contribution in a joint

17. Did you cave in to Russian demands just to get
a START Treaty or Russian cooperation on other issues?

- We are moving to a Phased Adaptive Approach because it
will be more effective against current and emerging
missile threats to Europe and the United States, including
large missile raid sizes from Iran.

- In their joint statement in London on April 1,
Presidents Obama and Medvedev agreed that the subject of
the START follow-on treaty would be the reduction and
limitation of strategic offensive arms. From the
beginning of the START follow-on negotiations, we have
made it clear to the Russians that the treaty should not
include any limitations on missile defenses and that
discussions on missile defense should be conducted through
other bilateral contacts.

- The previous missile defense architecture did not pose
any threat to Russia, and we have repeatedly emphasized to
Russia that our missile defenses are not directed at
them. The new phased approach poses no threat to them
-- On the contrary, we believed before, and we still
believe, that the Russians would benefit from cooperating
with the United States and NATO on missile defenses.

- President Obama and President Medvedev agreed to pursue
missile defense cooperation when they met in Moscow in
July 2009 and we look forward to this dialogue.

18. On potential linkage between offensive and
defensive weapons in START follow-on:

STATE 00096526 007 OF 007

- The United States will not negotiate limitations on
missile defense capabilities in the START follow-on treaty
with Russia, and we have made that clear to the Russians.

- Our missile defenses are deployed to counter the threats
from Iran and North Korea, not Russia. It will be
important for Russia to help to constrain both of these
growing threats.

- Both the United States and Russia have an interest in
maintaining a stable deterrence relationship, so it makes
perfect sense for us to discuss the relationship between
offensive and defensive weapons.
-- The fact that there is a relationship between offensive
and defensive forces has long been recognized by the
United States and Russia.
-- President Obama and President Medvedev agreed to have
such discussions in their April 1, 2009, Joint Statement.
-- While we welcome these discussions, we do not believe
that either the previous architecture or the new
architecture for missile defense in Europe poses any
threat to Russia.
-- The previous architecture was not open for negotiation,
and neither is the new one.

19. Isn't Iran more likely to use means other than
missiles for coercing or attacking the United States and
its allies?

- Iran is putting a lot of resources into its missile
programs, and is increasing its arsenal in terms of both
range and numbers. Ballistic missiles are attractive to
rogue states as tools of coercion and power projection
because they are capable of potentially delivering WMD
payloads over great distances in short periods of time.

- Although perhaps one should not take everything that
Iranian President Ahmadinejad says at face value, it is
worth noting that following an Iranian missile test on
April 20 of this year, he gave a speech saying "Today Iran
has the power to turn any base that fires a bullet at Iran
into hell."

20. Does this reflect the Administration's
acceptance of a nuclear Iran - that we're just going to
defend against their nuclear missiles rather than try to
stop them from becoming a nuclear power?

- The Administration's policy on Iran has not changed: a
nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable.
-- We are continuing to work with our international
partners to prevent Iran from developing technologies
capable of deploying nuclear weapons.
-- We also remain open to direct discussions with Iran on
this and other issues.

- Countering ballistic missiles is just one part of our
overall response to the threat posed by Iran, and the new
phased approach is designed to be tailored depending on
how the Iranian missile threat evolves.


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